Saturday, October 17, 2009

Up in the Pines...thinking about Carolina...

The southwest is blessed with dramatic landscapes that can often change drastically with elevation. Despite the beauty of deep, colorful canyons, red wall mesas, or the bulging barrel cactus whose silhouette stands still and silent across the flat desert sunset, one of my favorite features is how forests of ponderosa pines thrive up in the Arizona and New Mexico mountains once you climb above 7000-ft. It's simply amazing how quickly the transition from the openness of low-lying desert sand and shrub grows into hundreds of high pines with their protective canopy and glistening gold needle beds below.

For a North Carolina boy, you're home again. Somehow, someway, 8000-ft up and 3000 miles away, home....or at least, thinking of home. Never mind the near freezing morning temperatures, or solitude I had in that closed-for-winter county park outside Flagstaff - I had friends again. Now I didn't go so far as to hug the sappy suckers, but I did lie down with their comforting presence, look up, close eyes and smell the wonderful pine, all reminding me of a past, a past that I share with many of you, and hopefully, a not too distant future, one where we will see each other again soon: maybe lounging down by our lazy Lumber River, or walking and talking smack along the wood-lined railroad tracks, or even driving the Roads of Freedom far beyond Forest Acres...

Here I sit in Silver City, a place maybe halfway through this journey. Still so much to look forward to, although there are times where I must exercise the virtue of patience. I will most likely miss sharing the Thanksgiving holiday with friends and family, but should surely be back when we all reconvene for Christmas. Just a passing moment in time up in these pines, thinking about back home in Carolina.


  1. hey ryan
    carolina mtns are thinking about you. fall colors and snow covered mtns woke us this morning in Ltown.
    Lets meet up in Austin tx.

  2. Chando, Last night I pitched above 7000 at Iron Creek Campground, Gila National Forest. Had a small creek, lots of leaning black oaks with leaves of gold and orange, and the terrain rolling, litered with fallen trees here and there, and all of it overwhelming with flashbacks to our NC high country; me and my brother's backyard, and Linville supreme.

    I'll have to run mileage numbers, but I'd relish the chance to make it to Austin by Halloween... - r

  3. Hey Ryan- I'm living in Austin these days (yes, no longer Boulder), so if you need a place to crash when you get here give me a hollar. (303)915-8170
    Happy trails and no flats!

  4. Thanks Aisling, I'll give you a call in a couple of days. Leaving Del Rio and will be entering Austin from Marble Falls direction.

  5. Love the smell of pine trees too. Glad to hear you're still journeying safely and have reached your halfway point!